Old home gets new life

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When Vivian Torres stepped into her house May 31, she couldn’t keep the smile off her face.

Submitted photos: Vivian Torres’ home before renovations, left, had rotten wood, weather damaged walls and numerous other problems. In 100 days, House by House Reservation Program project manager David Standefer brought the home up to legal and comfort standards, below.

After 38 years of living in the same adobe house in Magdalena, Torres could hardly recognize the place she calls home.

The walls — clean and white; the floors — smooth, clear wood; and the bathroom — oh, the bathroom.

“Let’s start in the bathroom,” she said as she led visitors through the renovated home.

The dinky, crowded closet that once served the family as their bathroom is now open, white and roomy.

A former foster parent for Magdalena Schools, Torres has been applying for the House by House Reservation Program for years. Finally the housing authority took her application seriously and began work on her home.

Mary Ann Chavez-Lopez, executive director of El Camino Real Housing Authority, said the program provides assistance to low-income homeowners who lack the resources to make necessary repairs to their homes.

“We make it to where it’s safe, decent and sanitary and up to code,” Chavez-Lopez said.

Chavez-Lopez said since she has been with the local housing authority, she has seen 27 homes refurbished in Alamo, one in Veguita, six or seven in Magdalena, and 10 in Socorro.

“Out of all the programs we run,” Chavez-Lopez said, “this is the most rewarding program because you see before and after.”

The Torres home received about $77,000 in renovations, including new windows, floors, roof and much more.

Assistance funds can be used for applicable codes, standards or ordinance compliance; essential improvements, energy-related improvements, lead-based paint hazard reduction, accessibility for disabled persons, repair or replacement of major housing systems, incipient repairs and general property improvements of a non-luxury nature, site improvements and utility connections, Chavez-Lopez said.

Under the program, the Mortgage Finance Authority reserves funds on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible partners.

The program is available statewide, excluding the cities of Albuquerque and Las Cruces. Properties located on Native American Trust Lands are eligible to apply for the House by House Reservation Rehabilitation Program.

 

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